World record solar cell with 44.7% efficiency, made up of four solar subcells based on III-V compound semiconductors for use in concentrator photovoltaics. Credit: Fraunhofer ISE

A breakthrough in solar cell technology has been achieved at the Fraunhofer Institute. German researchers have managed to achieve a record-breaking peak efficiency at 44,7 percent.

The Goal is 50 Percent

This is a lot compared to traditional photovoltaic solar cells. As most solar cells on the market, today reach an efficiency level of around 20 to 30 percent at best.

This experimental cell is a result of three years of hard work and research by the team – who has an ultimate goal of breaking the 50 percent level efficiency. A level that the researchers are confident of breaking within the near future.

Layers and Lenses

This new cell is designed with four different sub-cells stacked on top of each other. They are all made of different semiconductor materials to absorb a different range of the light spectrum.

The experimental cell also uses lenses to focus the sun’s rays onto smaller cells, thereby allowing for higher efficiency and also making the cells more compact and taking up less space.

Not only do the researchers believe that the technology will be able to break even higher efficiency records in the future, they believe that they will manage to scale it.


If the team also manage to keep production costs within a reasonable level, this technology may become a real contender for future solar panel technology.

These cells would make solar power much more competitive as a clean energy source in the future. After all, to bring the price of solar power down to parity with fossil fuels, there is a need to balance high efficiency with low cost, including manufacturing and installation costs.

World Record Solar Cell with 44.7% Efficiency